Coronavirus: What are the symptoms and what do I do if I’m unwell?

People can help fight the spread of the coronavirus by continuing to regularly wash their hands with

People can help fight the spread of the coronavirus by continuing to regularly wash their hands with soap and water. Picture: Getty - Credit: Getty

As coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country, with five confirmed cases in Norfolk and Suffolk, we have answered your questions.

- What is Covid-19?

Covid-19 is the name for a disease caused by a new member of the coronavirus family of viruses (SARS-CoV-2). While the virus is related to SARS, the disease Covid-19 has never been encountered before and was transmitted to humans from animals - with cases first appearing in Wuhan, China.

- What are the symptoms?

Those who become ill reportedly suffer from a continuous cough, a fever and breathing difficulties. The symptoms are similar to a regular flu, but the virus can lead to pneumonia or in severe cases organ failure so it is important to pay close attention to your symptoms.

- What should I do if I feel ill?

NHS advice states if you have either a high temperature - feeling hot to the touch on your torso - or a new, continuous cough, then you must self isolate for 7 days.

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Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy, or hospital.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you are staying at home, and you do not need to be tested if you stay indoors. Most people with healthy immune systems will recover, but if your symptoms get worse then you must call 111.

- Is Covid-19 dangerous?

As Covid-19 has never been encountered before, our immune systems have no way of fighting the disease. However most people who become ill with coronavirus recover, though the elderly and those with weak immune systems are most at risk. As the pneumonia caused by Covid-19 is viral, antibiotics do not work.

- Do I need a face mask?

Covid-19 is not an airborne illness (i.e. you cannot breathe it in), so you do not need a face mask unless you already have the disease or are caring for someone who does.

The best way to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus is to regularly wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching your face, as the virus typically enters the body when people touch their mouth, nose, eyes or ears with their hands.

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